“I don’t want to be embarrassed,” was the message from Massimo Moratti to Rafael Benitez. It was as simple as that, irrespective of injuries or the fact that Inter are preparing for the Club World Cup the stark truth was that Benitez was supposed to have Inter make a good account of themselves. Instead Inter crumbled and suffered a 3-0 hammering that could quite easily have been more.
From Rafael Benitez’s point of view the match seemed almost to be irrelevant as he has the Club World Cup to focus on and it has been well publicised that failure to win this will result in dismissal. The decision to select a weak team against Werder Bremen was so that he could have a much fitter squad for the tournament in the UAE, but the manner of the defeat has left fans and President alike unhappy.
On many occasions it has felt necessary to tactically dissect the games where the Nerazzurri have fallen, originally intended to highlight weaknesses that would eventually be corrected. It is becoming more and more apparent that under Benitez a tactical dissection of what is wrong is becoming ever more frequent and unquestionably longer. The mistakes are becoming more basic and it is often hard to believe this is the same team that swept all before them last term.
The first goal that Werder Bremen scored highlighted some diabolical defending from the away side, Sebastian Prödl was waiting for a corner to be taken on the edge of the box, upon its delivery he made his way untracked towards the penalty spot, Sulley Muntari his marker on the edge of the box watched on as Prödl unchallenged headed home. The second goal also saw some disgraceful defending as Javier Zanetti failed to close down Hugo Almeida’s cross and ex-Inter player Marko Arnautovic found it all too easy to get in front of stand-in centre-back Esteban Cambiasso. The final indignity came with two minutes to go when Claudio Pizarro received the ball on the edge of the box, Cambiasso rushed out much too quickly and allowed Pizarro to turn him and fire into the bottom corner. Injuries, priorities and tactics aside, the Nerazzurri played without pride and this will be something duly noted by Moratti.
Benitez was quick to make his excuses after the game: “Our aim is clear, it’s the Club World Cup and we saw that clearly. We played like a team that had already qualified (for the knockout stage). The match that was really important was the one we won at home to Twente. This time we tried out some young players, which is the only positive aspect of the game; we didn’t want to risk anyone.” Even when pressed on his future at the club he commented that “I spoke to the president Moratti before the game and we agreed to do everything possible to win in Bremen but without taking any risks in view of the Club World Cup, so I’m calm.”
However, Moratti has unsurprisingly said his piece only this time it seems as though his mind is made up and whilst the team are at the Club World Cup he may well be looking for a replacement: “I had a feeling we’d lose against Werder, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be this bad. I feel betrayed, as I always do when we lose a game in such an obvious way. I took it very badly, but I don’t think the players did it on purpose. Perhaps they felt the tension of their next appointment a bit too much.”
It looks for now as though Benitez will remain in charge and attempt to win the Club World Cup, however, more and more names are being linked with the Spaniard’s job and once again his position looks to be on a knife edge. If he wins the sought-after trophy in the UAE then his job may be safe for a little longer but the question should be asked has Moratti and the fans have already lost faith in him? If things continue in as they are at present what can Inter hope for this season? Will winning this trophy put off Benitez’s sacking until his next major pitfall? Or will winning the Club World Cup kickstart a new era and with a fully fit squad a resurgence? Either way something has to give, Benitez needs results and he need them now, the question for Inter fans should be, what do they want more – the Club World Cup, or Benitez?